Innovation That Matters

Rentobile: a Netflix for cell phones


Consumers longing to try out the latest mobile devices—whether for fashion or for function—must typically wait for their current contract to expire before trying something new. Aiming to make it possible to sample both more widely and more often, Rentobile provides a wide selection of the latest cell phones for rent on a monthly basis. Users begin by deciding if they want to become a Rentobile member or simply rent as a guest. Membership rates begin at USD 5 per month; in exchange, members enjoy the site’s lowest rental rates and other privileges. They then browse Rentobile’s collection—including sections for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon as well as unlocked models—and choose which they’d like to try out first. All models are either new or in like-new condition, Rentobile says, with monthly rental rates beginning at about USD 15. Consumers can rent the device of their choice for as little as a month or as long as they want. A USD 9.95 round-trip shipping charge is assessed up front, so when they’re ready for something new, they simply return the item for free and tell Rentobile what to send next. Launched last year, New Jersey-based Rentobile brings the Netflix model to cell phones, joining a long list of companies that have already brought it to toys, books and snacks, among other goods. All of which should please transumers, consumers who crave opportunities to experience products without contracts or ownership. One to bring to other parts of the world! Spotted by: Susanna Haynie



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